This week, the Pacific Northwest is taking its first deep breath of autumn. We inhale and catch the slightest bite of deep cold– a cold that is just a whisper but will soon be pervasive and shocking. For many, this signals a turn towards comfort. Fall brings memories of school supplies and football games. We can rest our weary bones next to a warm fireplace. All the world is bathed in auburn light.
And I want to gag.
It’s just so…cutesy. People get all bundled up in their sweaters and scarves. (Oregonians love scarves. Scarves are the new sunglasses.) They start talking about baking, and they don’t even use a box. The ubiquitous sleepy smile infects our collective visages. Everyone turns into a bunch of overdressed hippies.
Do you know what fall is about? It’s about death. It’s about the slow descent into tree leaf hell. It’s about the annual breakdown of joy and life and flip flops. Fall sucks!
We used to know this. We used to celebrate a holiday that was dedicated to honoring our dead. And also being totally terrified that they would break out of their coffins and join all of the other supernatural beings in the world that try to steal our children and possess our souls, presumably to be able to do that head-turn-all-the-way-around thing. (Hard to accomplish without corporeal form.) We were gripped with fear and waited with bated breath until the day of haunting was over and we could forget the fact that someday we’ll all become worm food.
Now, we eat processed sugar and compete to see how many Quail Man costumes we can pack into one party. Even those things are cutesy. Quail Man was so innocent, with his underwear pulled up over his khakis…
I rather hate myself right now.
We have turned everything about fall into a lovey-dovey mush fest. Even pumpkins became hip. Pumpkin spice lattés. Pumpkin beer. Knitted sweaters with pumpkin appliqués. I’m even going to a pumpkin carving party next weekend. You know what? It’s going to be a blast, filled with joy and laughter and fellowship.
Damn it. Pumpkins are misshapen gourds! They are filled with the ghosts of rotten food yet to come. They should make me want to puke, and they do, but not because they smell like old men. They are so happy that they are sickening. This whole time of year– it’s all snuggles and vomit.
I can’t wait for winter.
In winter, everything is dead. The trees are bare. Black ice sheaths the road in a silent, surreptitious death trap. The good squirrels have entered hibernation, and the only squirrels we see are possessed by the devil. The grey clouds are bleak and oppressing. They assault the earth with their frozen precipitation of doom.
Oh God. Snow. People love snow. I even love snow, the first time it shows its fluffy, ever unique self. Snow makes people giddy. They drink hot chocolate with peppermint (schnapps) and get all rosy-cheeked. They start spontaneously croaking songs that have not even been mentioned for 11 months. They buy you gifts and bake you cookies and adopt good will toward all men.
So that’s official. Winter makes me want to puke too.
Nope. Lambs. Chicks. Babies in Easter dresses. Prom. Tulips. Opening Day of Baseball Season. The aroma of rain on warm cement.
And summer is the sweet smell of sunscreen. Wedding bliss. Toddlers in water wings. Families grilling on the patio and playing badminton on the lawn. Even the word “badminton” is warm and fuzzy.
Then we’re back to fall and apples. Apples, damn it!
Seasons, thy unremitting cuteness is causing me esophageal harm. If God, the creator of all things changing and the only unchangeable force within all things, is really named Ralph, then we need to have a serious talk on the big white phone.